Exploring unpaved roads: new places for 2012
Lonely Planet’s launch of Best in Travel 2012 reveals new destinations opening up to tourists for the f irst time next year.
Travellers can now explore Lesotho, a country neighbouring South Africa, new areas of Bhutan, and the Northern regions of Kenya.
In an effort to increase tourism, Bhutan has made it possible to visit new regions of the serene getaway and thanks to the building of new highways, the remote regions of Northern Kenya and Lesotho will be more accessible. capital Masuru, where the treks lead to a massive mountain range.
Add cannibal caves and dinosaur footprints to the list and this destination promises to be a lot more than a pony ride.
Bhutan, a captivating Buddhist country that calculates Gross National Happiness (GNH), is also opening up a few regions to visitors that were restricted in the past.
“There’s part of the country that you’ve never been able to see that people can now,” says Reid.
Travellers can explore Bhutan’s pristine mountain regions and f ind a peaceful oasis in the unexplored far-east where they’ll f ind more locals than tourists.
Royal Manas National Park, home to some of the planet’s last remaining tigers, has also reopened.
Bhutan’s tourism policy limits the amount of visitors to an “environmentally manageable level,” and requires that all travel be organized with a registered tour operator.
There is an authenticity about visiting a destination while it’s fresh to travellers.
“Sometimes there’s a timer on places,” says Reid.
“Things open up and tourism comes rushing in and there’s always that sense that something is going to change.”
Leave your footprints in the unexplored terrain of Northern Kenya, where even the animals look different than the rest of the country. A massive road construction is underway and while this will make the area easier to access, this may be the last chance to explore it through its unpaved roads.
Accompanied by an abundance of wild animals, the safari through the desert to Lake Turkana is a must see. Visit the Central Island National Park, a volcanic island in the middle of the lake, for a truly wild experience.
Filled with some of the largest crocodiles in the world, the Best in Travel 2012 estimates that about 12,000 of these reptiles call the island home.
Will the construction of these roads and access to new regions change them?
“It might take years,” says Reid, “but its something to think about.”
It was a cool, rainy Sunday morning in mid-august. My husband Tom and I had to drive back to Montreal later that day, but we decided to visit Place de la Gare, an artist-run gallery in a train station in the village of Mont-tremblant, Quebec, before we left.
The first thing I liked about the gallery was the building, which has been rebuilt in the style of the original train station. The train originally brought settlers and forestry workers, and later skiers, to the Mont-tremblant area. Framed black and white photos inside the station provide a fascinating glimpse of the early days.
The second thing I liked was the beautiful paintings inside, many featuring the sparkling lakes and rolling hillsides the region is known for. There were other whimsical, colourful paintings and one memorable painting commissioned for the Montreal Jazz Festival.
But the best thing about our visit to Place de la Gare was the discussion that we had with one of the resident artists.
As the three of us had the gallery to ourselves that morning, we had the opportunity to have a good talk. There was a strong Alberta connection as Michel had spent many happy winters in his younger years on the ski hills in Banff and Lake Louise and later attended the Banff School of Fine Arts.
We were all packed and ready to discover Egypt last January, a new travel destination for us.
After spending several months researching the country, we had a list of things to do and see. The pyramids along with various tombs and historic sites were at the top of the list. Then we decided on a two-night trip into the desert with a couple of Bedouin guides. With the guides navigating over the sand dunes in their Land Rover with precision and skill we sat back and enjoyed the thrill of the ride.
Stopping late afternoon, we were presented with a tasty meal prepared by our guides. Afterwards they entertained us by singing and playing traditional instruments around a fire. The nights were chilly, but well lit with a near full moon. Day 2 brought us to the White Desert.
Mounds of limestone jutting out of the sand for as far as we could see.
Next on our list was a threeday cruise down the Nile. Getting to the ship was quite difficult, due to a small protest
We eventually talked about more recent times, and he told us about coping with a major health challenge. He had recently completed chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was half-way through radiation treatments. My husband, who had successfully undergone treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma a year ago, completely empathized with him. After jokes about hair-loss, we had a heartfelt talk about how dealing with these kinds of challenges turns your life upside down and Tom was able to offer some encouraging words.
Travel agents usually emphasize stunning scenery, wonderful local food or outstanding recreational activities when recommending travel destinations. While these are important, we have often found — and as this story illustrates — our most memorable travel experiences are connected to the people that we meet on our journeys. on the streets. We were driven around the back roads until we arrived at our port. Settling down on the top lounging area, we had a good view of the protesters.
Suddenly, there were several loud bangs. As tear gas drifted over the ship ahead of us, we ran for cover. The ship did eventually continue on its journey down the Nile without incident.
Arriving in the City of Luxor a few days earlier than anticipated we settled into a hotel waiting for our flight to the Red Sea.
Who knew that a Revolution was in the making?
Our flight was cancelled; trains and airports were closed along with all overland travel. Communication was also shut down, Internet, phones, television, etc.
As we were some of the last tourists left in that city, with nowhere else to go, there was ample opportunity to really get to know the people and to see the country from a different perspective. Egypt is a very warm and hospitable place to visit.
The isolated kingdom of Bhutan is one of the more expensive destinations in the world, popular with celebrities and the well-heeled. In 2012 the kingdom, which limits the number of tourists each year, is opening up new regions once restricted to...
Charlene Schmitt’s visit to Egypt included a trip by Land Rover to the White Desert where odd mushroom-shaped chalk formations dot the landscape. Little did they know at the time that they were there just as the revolution was beginning.